Just as antique dealers have “pickers” who scour the countryside in search of gorgeous finds, I have a pair of “searchers” who feed me interesting blog ideas. Julie Janson and Gabrielle Eisenberg are a mother-daughter team from New England and dear friends of mine. They love the blog and adore quirky, interesting ideas – especially the ones I endearingly call “weird, but good.”
So when Julie sent me an email about Springwise , a cool website that was featuring an American company where you can create your own fabric designs, she got my attention. But what really got my attention was Springwise. Basically, Springwise scans the globe for good ideas. Because they have 8,000 springspotters in 70 countries and track thousand of websites globally, they deliver on their promise to be a leading source for new business ideas for entrepreneurial minds.
Here are a couple of my favorite Springwise new ideas. Of course, they have something to do with style.
Clothing rentals are not a new concept. Most cater to special occasions like wedding or black tie events, or rentals of extremely high- end accessories like a Prada or Gucci purse.
Here is an idea that is worthy of a StyleBlueprint nod. Think Netflix. Closetinfinite is a service through which members can rent clothes for free in exchange for donating a fashion item of their own. This Singapore based company is gearing up for a launch: their customers are fashion divas who hate to wear the same outfit twice. You start by sending a photo of the item you want to donate with its history of purchase and price. Next, if accepted you are able to “shop” or actually rent donated clothes of others for free in the Closetinfinite library. Exactly like Netflix, the item is sent with a return envelope. Unlike Netflix, there is a deadline of five days to return the clothes. There are miscellaneous fees for packaging, postage, and cleaning, but they are nominal. As the fashion cycle shortens, it is no wonder the concept of transumers is here to stay. Closetinfinite will be up and running once they have a built up a collection of clothes. My only question is HOW will this company make money?
Spotted by: Julie
Let’s face it, we love to personalize things- especially in the South. That’s why the LL Bean monogrammed bags are so popular, not to mention our stationary, t-shirts, pillow shams and more. A trend worth noting is actually customizing the raw materials that underlie the finished goods. Spoonflower is a design-your fabric company. Why did we not think of this? Yep, Spoonflower lets users design and print their own fabrics. If you are not convinced in the marketability of this product (btw, we are totally convinced), consider this: after a closed-door beta launch, the Spoonflower community now boasts of more than 10,000 crafters from around the world who upload their own designs to make everything from quilts to framed textile art. Going forward, Spoonflower hopes to offer fabric designers the opportunity to sell fabric on the site (now, that is cool). Right now, users are selling their creations on Etsy and participating in the Spoonflower Fabric of the Week contest.
Your Suite in Nature
Spotted by: Emma Crameri
Every time I see one of the Silver Streak vintage campers, I sigh. It’s nostalgic look and clean lines reminds me of days of yore. Life seemed simpler and less harried. Women did not create spreadsheets to figure out what their kids were doing in the summer or experience an anxiety attack every time a the word “break” was mentioned. They just fired up the Country Squire (yes, I did drive a Country Squire station wagon in high school with faux wood on the sides), hitched up the Silver Streak (probably lit up a cigarette!) and headed out to explore.
So when I saw this idea, I LOVED it. Camping with sex appeal. Meet the Opera: a fold-out trailer that is eye-catching, luxurious and chic. No, I didn’t say cheap, I said chic.
The ultra-cool camper was designed by Axel Enthoven, who has led the department of Man & Mobility at Eindhoven’s Design Academy since 1989. Its overlapping domed tent and openness is inspired by the Sydney Opera House. It folds out of the trailer in minutes, revealing a sleek interior that includes hot and cold running water, a toilet, a simple stove, a wine cabinet and an espresso bar. As well as two luxury beds that slide together at the push of a button. And an enclosed teak veranda.
Since the Opera is compact, it allows for off the beaten track travel, hence the name, “Your Suite in Nature“. As we yupsters get more and more frustrated with the hassles and high costs associated with travel (let’s face it, there are lots of us), the Opera will set us free. You can rough it without really roughing it. The Opera officially launched this December with production gearing up in 2010. There are no prices as of yet, and yes, I did say chic because this one ain’t gonna be cheap!
Website: www.yoursuiteinnature.com (note that the current website is limited to a Flash presentation)